Daily News Roundup

February 13, 2019

WEDNESDAY, February 13

The Government is moving to reopen the Christmas Island immigration centre as border protection shapes as a key battleground ahead of this year’s federal election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement came as the refugee medevac bill that delivered the Federal Government a historic loss by one vote in the Lower House yesterday was passed into law by the Senate by two votes today.

The Coalition claims the new law, which will let sick refugees come to Australia, will restart the people-smuggling trade.

Passage of the bill through the Senate was temporarily put in doubt this morning when crossbench Senator Derryn Hinch indicated he could rethink his support.

Senator Hinch, who backed the initial bill for medical evacuations, asked for security briefings before deciding whether to support the amended legislation.

Labor teamed up with independents in the Lower House yesterday to pass the new law, which gives doctors more power to decide whether asylum seekers on Manus Island or Nauru should come to Australia for treatment.

The Coalition claims the legislation will lead to the people smuggling trade restarting.

“What this motion by the Labor Party shows to the Australian people, is just how cocky, how reckless, how irresponsible and how weak Bill Shorten is as leader of the Labor Party,” Government Senate leader Mathias Cormann said.

“Bill Shorten is demonstrating to all Australians that he does not have the strength of character or the good judgement required to be prime minister

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George Clooney says Meghan, Duchess of Sussex  has been pursued and vilified by media in the same way Princess Diana was.

Headline actor Clooney has told reporters Meghan is “a woman who is seven months pregnant and she has been pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was, and it’s history repeating itself”.

Diana died in a car crash while being pursued by paparazzi in 1997.

Clooney and his wife attended the former Meghan Markle’s wedding to Diana’s son, Prince Harry, last year.

Clooney made the comments at the Television Critics Association conference in Pasadena, California. He is promoting his upcoming Hulu series Catch-22

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News organisations in South Africa are reporting how rescue workers pulled a newborn baby from a storm drain in a four-hour operation.

The reports said there were cheers of delight from from onlookers as the baby was brought out.

Rescue Care Paramedics, one of the groups that helped to extricate the infant girl in Durban, said it was unclear why the baby was “dumped” and that police were launching an investigation.

The group said emergency responders went to the scene on Monday (local time) after residents heard a baby crying from deep inside the concrete storm drain.

KwaZulu-Natal emergency medical services spokesperson Robert McKenzie was reported to have told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that the baby was “washed about 5 or 6 metres further down the drain pipe”.

“It’s good news for the ending of this rescue today,” he said.

“We’d like to congratulate all the rescuers and personnel and paramedics who worked together.”

The area was dug up and a chisel and hammer were used to break into the drain.

Video showed an official lifting the baby to a colleague standing above a pit as people celebrated the successful rescue.

The baby was airlifted from the scene and is being treated at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital.

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